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Title: Environmental impact assessment for the development of tuna purchasing and storage facility, GA. Raaverrehaa, North Huvadhu Atoll
Authors: Riyaz, Mahmood
Adam, M. Shiham
Keywords: Tuna purchasing and storage facility
Legislative and regulatory considerations
Existing environmental conditions
Existing marine environment
Existing terrestrial environment
Existing socio-economic environment
Environmental impacts
Mitigation measures
Environmental monitoring
Environmental impact assessments
Issue Date: Jan-2016
Citation: Riyaz, M. & Adam, M. S. (2016). Environmental impact assessment for the development of tuna purchasing and storage facility, GA. Raaverrehaa, North Huvadhu Atoll. Male': Maldives
Abstract: 1- This is the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report carried out for proponent ̶ Ensis Fisheries Pvt. Ltd. ̶ to develop and operate fish purchase and storage facility in Raaverrehaa North Huvadhu Atoll. The EIA was prepared as partial fulfilment of the requirement by the Ministry Fisheries and Agriculture (MoFA) for acquiring permission for the Project. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of development projects is a requirement by the Environmental Protection and Preservation Act (EPPA) (law 4/93) of the Government of the Republic of Maldives. 2- This report has been prepared in accordance with the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations published by the Ministry of Environment and Energy in 2012 and covers both negative and positive environmental and socio-economic impact arising from the proposed project. Major findings of this report are based on information gathered during the field inspection of both the existing environment and possible effects of the project activities, and ongoing similar projects elsewhere in the Maldives and through extensive literature review and experiences gained from similar projects elsewhere. 3- Initially the proposed development was planned in Ga. Kedheraa Island and environmental Decision Statement was obtained to go ahead with the project. Shifting the planned development to Raaverrehaa was decided based on strategic analysis of the development, which found potential operational disadvantages that may impede smooth operation of the facility. Most importantly lack of shallow reef space to develop a harbour, which is an important infrastructure for the facility, remoteness of the island and being far from the airport and major fishing islands are also some of the shortcomings of Kedheraa. 4- The proposed activity will take place on Raaverrehaa Island and surrounding Falhu. Ga. Raaverrehaa Island is an uninhabited found on the North Eastern side of Huvadhu Atoll located at the periphery in an elongated, N-S oriented reef platform measuring a length of 20 km is shared by multiple islands. The reef is shared by three more islands including Villingili Island. The eastern part of the reef extends in the form shallow lagoon into eastern rim of the Atoll. The elongated-oval-shaped island of Raaverrehaa is lying in the western half of the reef. The coral reef system of Raaverrehaa is 20km long and the width is 0.8-1.8km. Reef perimeter is 43km and the area is approximately 25sqkm. The distance from the edge of the beach to the reef edge in both eastern and western sides is fairly consistent measured approximately 1km on the east and 400m on the western side. Raaverrehaa is an elongated-oval shape, N-S oriented island, with a length of 415m and width 100-119m and has an area of 4.7 ha. Average depth of the reef flat is less than -1 to -0.5m m from MSL. 5- Major operation that will be undertaken in Raaverrehaa Island will be loading/unloading storage and transportation of fish to Ensis processing facilities located in Hulhumalé Island. The facility will have 500 tonnes cold storage capacity and will produce ice needed for the fishermen to keep the fish fresh until they reach the storage facility from the fishing grounds. Necessary infrastructure needed to operate the facility will be developed on the island including the accommodation facilities for the staff working on the island. Electricity and water required for operations will be produced in the island. 100x3 KvA generator sets will be will be installed at the powerhouse to provide the electricity needed for the island. Reverse Osmosis (RO) desalination plants with total production capacity of 40MT per day will be installed to provide necessary water requirement for the operations. The proponent will ensure that the powerhouse and desalination plant implies with the relevant regulations. The exhaust chimneys, lightening conductors, sound attenuators, and CO2-based fire fighting equipment will be installed. Ear mufflers will be provided for staff working at louder areas of the facility. EIA Ensis Fisheries – Raaverrehaa Shore-based Facility – M. Riyaz & M.S Adam 15 | 90 6- The raw material, mainly skipjack and yellowfin tuna caught by pole-and-line and handline by Maldivian on local fishing vessels will be purchased entirely from the Maldivian fishermen. With Ensis’s long reputation in the country, it is expected that a large number of vessel will sell fish to the Ensis Fisheries Pvt Ltd. Ice will be provided free of charge from all the Ensis facilities as incentive for fishing and to encourage loyalty to the company. In addition the proponent will provide iceboxes for fishing operation startups in the area. 7- During the preparation of the EIA report an impact matrix, which is a standard tool for identifying the possible impacts of project activities, has been created for proposed development project Raaverrehaa Island. The activities carried out during the construction and operational phases are arrayed against a selection of environmental factors that may be affected directly or indirectly as a result of project activities. The impact outcomes from this analysis are considered and appropriate mitigation measures both in the development and operational phased has been provided. 8- The report has identified the main environmental impacts associated with the proposed activities and found that high water and energy consumption and the discharge of effluent with a high organic content are the major issues. Vegetation clearance and construction waste during the construction phase and noise, odor, solid wastes occupational health and safety issues may also be concerns of the operational phase. The study has found that most significant negative environmental impact identified during the operational phase of this project is release of untreated effluent into the sea. Liquid, solid and other forms of wastes and particularly hazardous waste generated during the operational phase has also been identified as significant impact associated with the project and appropriate mitigation measures are suggested for each and every impact identified in relation to the project. 9- The study has evaluated alternative options for the project and found that the proposed development is the right development for the right place. To enhance the water circulation in the reef and to limit the access to Raaverrehaa it is recommended to cut a channel through the walkway or remove it as an alternative for keeping the solid walkway which blocks cross reef water motion, increase nutrient enrichment and subsequent growth of seagrass on the eastern side of the reef and provides unlimited land access to the island. It is suggested to under-take post-development extensive monitoring programme that will keep on monitoring the environmental changes associated with the development and its operation and make necessary adjustment to the activities and its operation of the project based on the findings of various measured environmental parameters suggested in the monitoring plan. 10- The overall positive environmental impact from the development project is to integrate the existing product lines and the value-addition of fishery products rather than exporting the whole fish for processing. Job creation and stimulation of local economy, and exports is the most significant positive environmental impact of this activity. The long-term sustainability of the activity however, will depend on the sustainability of the fish stock. Skipjack and yellowfin tuna are highly migratory and their stocks straddle across the countries’ exclusive economic zones into the high seas spreading out into the entire Indian Ocean. The stocks are being managed by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission which among its 32 coastal and distant water fishing nations. Maldives is a full member and now heavily engaged, partly due to its existing Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Certification of its pole and line skipjack and yellowfin tuna fishery. The current assessed status of the skipjack and yellowfin tuna stock is considered ‘not overfishing’. The total average Indian Ocean catches are below the assessed maximum sustainable levels and the spawning biomass is healthy well above the point of recruitment impairment. The Maldives fishery component takes 17% of Indian Ocean skipjack and some 15% of the yellowfin. The most recent MSY is around at 680,000 Mt per year for skipjack and 350,000 Mt for yellowfin tuna. 11- Raaverrehaa is occasionally used for local picnic and it is the only remaining island for picnickers in the vicinity Villingili. Proposed fish purchase and storage facility development in Raaverehaa will limit the public accessibility for local picnickers. To overcome potential social problems that may rise in association with this development, the proponent has proposed to develop a picnic facility in any location identified by the public and Villingili Council. At present council is consulting with the people to identify the most suitable area to develop for local picnickers. 12- On the basis of the findings of this environmental impact assessment study and the impact mitigation measures proposed in the report will be duly implemented and recommendations are given due consideration, it is concluded that the benefits of the planned Ensis fish purchasing and storage facility development in Raaverrehaa Island will substantially outweigh an unwelcomed demand of burden on the environment.
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